7 Ways to Speed up and Maintain Your Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer

Friday, September 28th, 2012 | Microsoft Office 2010, Technical, Windows 7, Windows Vista | Grayson Ronk

1.  Remove any spyware, malware, adware, trojan horses, & viruses.  These are all unwanted programs that can slow or stop your computer.  It is much better and easier to prevent these programs than it is to remove them, in severe cases the easiest, fastest, and sometimes only way to remove these programs is to reinstall the OS from scratch.  One way to guard against viruses, spyware, and other evil software is to use Microsoft Security Essentials.  It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PCs.  Microsoft Security Essentials is free and is designed to be simple to install and easy to use. It runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you don’t have to worry about interruptions or making updates.  For medium to larger businesses some good programs for this are Symantec Endpoint Protection, Kaspersky Lab: Antivirus software, McAfee, and others.

2.  Remove unused or unneeded programs.  The programs to focus on here are mostly internet plug-ins or add-ons.  These are supposed to make searching and using the internet easier, and in some cases they do, but at the expense of speed.  This will generally only slow down your internet experience, but from my experience when someone says that their computer is slow they really mean “My internet is slow.”  It’s also not a bad idea to remove any other programs that are not being used.  They add entries in the registry and take up hard drive space.  This leads me to the next speed up tip.  To remove programs: Start menu – Control Panel – Programs and Features – then chose the program to be uninstalled – click “Uninstall” at the top

3.  Free up hard drive space.  If your hard drive space gets below 10% Windows will shut down some features that do help to speed up the computer.  One of these features is Disk Defrag.  In Windows Vista and Windows 7 Disk Defrag runs automatically at scheduled intervals.  To change the schedule: right click on your C: drive – Properties – Tools tab – Defragment now – then Configure schedule.  If you need to free up hard drive space one good place to start is by using the Windows “Disk Cleanup” feature.  To use the Disk Cleanup feature: right click on your C: drive – Properties – Disk Cleanup – it may take some time for Windows to scan the drive – once Windows finishes scanning just choose what you want to delete.

4.  Run System File Checker.  System File Checker scans and verifies the versions of all protected system files and corrects any errors. To run System File Checker: You must be logged on as a member of the Administrators group, click on Start Menu – in the search type “CMD” enter – at the prompt type “sfc /scannow”.  If sfc discovers that a protected file has been overwritten, it retrieves the correct version of the file from the %systemroot%\system32\dllcache folder, and then replaces the incorrect file.

5.  Clear your Prefetch files.  Each time you turn on your computer, Windows keeps track of the way your computer starts and which programs you commonly open. Windows saves this information as a number of small files in the prefetch folder. The next time you turn on your computer, Windows refers to these files to help speed the start process.  Sometime these file can become corrupt and actually slow down the computer.  By deleting the content in the Prefetch folder Windows will start creating new uncorrupted files.  To clear your Prefetch files: browse to “C:\Windows\Prefetch” then select all and shift delete.

6.  Repair Microsoft Office.  Office can get corrupted for this purpose Microsoft has added a repair feature.  To use the repair feature in Office 2007: Start the 2007 Office program – on the Help menu, click Office Diagnostics – click Continue – click Run Diagnostics.  To use the repair feature in Office 2010: Start menu – Control Panel – Programs and Features – then chose Microsoft Office 2010 – at the top choose “Change” – follow instructions in the wizard being sure to choose “Repair”.

7.  Run Check Disk.  As you use your hard drive, it can develop bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing (such as file saving) difficult or even impossible. The Error Checking utility scans the hard drive for bad sectors and scans for file system errors to see whether certain files or folders are misplaced.  To run Check Disk: right click on your C: drive – Properties – Tools tab – click Check Now – tick both boxes – click Start.  This will schedule Check Disk to run at next restart.  The Check Disk process can take longer than an hour, so be sure you have the time.

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